The worldwide assaults increase demands for Metaverses Regulation.
As has happened throughout history with the first steps of technical innovation, especially if it is linked to communication, societies reacted seeing threats, where the promoters of the novelty put promises and great expectations of benefits for all.
So it happened with the railway, cinema, radio, and, of course, television and the Internet.
The metaverse would not be an exception to this understandable social logic of response to a possible change that breaks with some routines and inertias inscribed in people’s daily lives. Perception of threats that, in addition, barely distinguish between the different possible metaverse concretions.
Moreover, since Zuckerberg announced his corporate commitment to the metaverse, given the opaque background of Facebook, such perception has not only increased. Still, it is projected globally on the entire metaverse concept and virtual reality.
Since such announcement, the voices demanding regulation of the metaverses have been constant, starting with a voice as authoritative as the United States Federal Trade Commission.
Now, when it comes to regulation, what aspects are susceptible to regulation in a reality that is practically parallel to our physical reality, with all its complexity. Only a few are listed here, with the awareness of the impossibility of covering them all.
The most striking area for regulation, precisely because of the recent history of Facebook, is that of privacy. Large meta version corporations are drawn recording our every move and reaction in the metaverse for primarily advertising purposes.
With advertising very different from the one that assails us on the tours of the different paths of the Internet.
In the metaverse, what can attack us are avatars that, promoted by advertisers, try to lead us to purchase through interaction based on the knowledge of our vulnerabilities. In this area, two lines of regulatory action are proposed. On the one hand, directly related to the management of our right to privacy.
Thus, transparency is demanded about the data they record from us and its deletion in a reasonable time, which becomes immediate once the metaverse is left. Deleting records, except those that have to do with the properties acquired, is in the latter where the great potential of Blockchain registration has a crucial function.
The other line, also related to the ability to record and analyze our reactions based on the operation of artificial intelligence, has to do with the transparency of interactions mediated by advertising, propaganda, or marketing. In the metaverse, interaction is primarily with other avatars. Unknown, in most cases.
Avatars could well be advertising or commercial agents. This line advocates their identification, in the same way as there is currently an obligation in the written media to identify what is advertising, separating it from the informative content of the media.
The thing does not seem easy, considering the experience of existing “undercover recommenders” in social networks or websites. Let’s take an example, even if it is straightforward and schematic.
In the metaverse, we are taking a virtual walk through a city, which we indeed plan to visit. We passed through the door of a restaurant. Suddenly, an avatar comes up to us and tells us how good or bad to recommend another one that you eat in that restaurant.
The promotional avatar, which is already a source of employment in the metaverse, will invite us to go to the local to take a look, having already won a good part of our will.
There would be less distance from here to make the reservation and not worry about looking for another place to eat. Suppose the avatar in question is identified as a promoter agent. In that case, our relationship will differ from seeing him as another visitor like ourselves. Hence such identification is required.
However, if the promotional mandate for this avatar takes place outside of the Metaverse records, the chances of identifying it would be less. Above all, if the regulation of these aspects remains in the hands of the corporation that manages, for-profit, the Metaverse.
Assaults, Abuses, Or Attempted Rapes In The Metaverses
The other area of regulation is linked to the thorny field of criminal law, of those behaviors carried out in the metaverse that harm or, at least, are offensive to someone or some institution.
There are already several cases that have revealed aggression, abuse, or attempted rape. The latest has appeared in the British press this week. It is already very present in social networks but with the most incredible intensity and depth it can reach in the metaverse.
What behaviors to identify and condemn? With what penalties? Who would apply the penalties? It must be borne in mind that interactions occur and, although they are still in the prolegomena, some may have a profoundly negative meaning. Is the metaverse a kind of Sin City,
Bearing in mind that the metaverse is fundamentally a space, the other sphere of regulation is what we could call “urban planning.” Can you build what you want? As you want?
Suppose the administrative and collection control exercised by the different public administrations over private real estate is transferred to the Metaverse, where legal rights are required (rates, cession of spaces, monitoring of aesthetic norms, etc.) for each modification. In that case, the thing becomes. It would be pretty complicated.
Regulatory Actions In The Metaverse
It is only a few lines, and they all point to the debate of whether the metaverses should be self-regulated or be subordinated to external regulation.
In the metaverse, a system seemingly apart from reality is spawned, although it is a reality, like any other, with the problems of any other reality. What is considered reality is the environment of something so fundamental that is the metaverse. There are several possibilities for regulatory action:
- Absolute community self-regulation specifying ideals of interaction.
- The representative regulation of the users of the Metaverse, more or less democratic, with bodies that produce and apply the norms, configuring itself as a corporate regulation.
- The regulation imposed by each of the states, an issue that, in any case, would be present, perhaps rules in smart contracts that govern the presence of avatars in Metaverses on Blockchain.
- Self-regulation by the owner-manager corporations of the Metaverses.
International Rights and Metaverse
In any case, state or international rights will always be present, even when it is like a shadow ready to intervene. But of what state, in a transnational space? The one where the management company of the metaverse resides and, therefore, from a legal system immersed in a specific culture? Will the metaverse be another step towards a transnational community culture of rights?
Many questions are derived from the Metaverse, which turns our ways of living upside down. So it is not surprising that societies, accustomed to a greater or lesser extent to their routines, maintain some precautions.